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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

“Voice of the Bobcats” retires after 27 years

Texas State’s sports broadcaster Bill Culhane announced that he would retire after 27 years on Thursday, March 9, 2020.
Texas State’s sports broadcaster Bill Culhane announced that he would retire after 27 years on Thursday, March 9, 2020.

Texas State’s iconic sports broadcaster Bill Culhane, who served as “The Voice of the Bobcats” for 27 years, officially retired from his position on Thursday.
Culhane will be leaving a big hole in the program and said that he left the position to spend more time with his three kids.
“It’s been brewing for a while now,” Culhane said. “It was really a combination of family first. I have three kids; my oldest son is a coach in the Austin area, my two youngest kids, my daughter is a swimmer at Dripping Springs High School (and) my youngest son just started playing football out here in Dripping Springs, so there were a lot of missed games.”
Culhane said that he wanted to set the record straight on the rumors that surfaced about his reasons for retirement after the official announcement was made by Texas State Athletics.
“It’s not because of COVID-19, it’s not because I have any disagreements with anybody.” Culhane said. “I met with a couple people already. I know what it said in the press release. It’s not so much retiring as stepping back.”
Culhane said that the relationships he made and the people within the program made the retirement decision more difficult.
“There came a point for me where I decided that I wasn’t going to get up in the morning and look at the standings and decide if I’m a Bobcat fan today.” Culhane said. “It was many years ago where I was all in. There are opportunities, like anywhere, for Texas State to improve and get better. I wasn’t going to let wins and loses any of that stuff impact how I felt about wearing that maroon and gold. A big part of that is the relationships. I’ve known Karen Chisum forever. I’ve known Ty Harrington forever. Adam Alonzo forever. It’s the relationships that I’m taking with me forever.”
Along the way, Culhane made some lasting impressions, including mentoring former boothmate and new Texas State ESPN+ commentator Brant Freeman.
Freeman, a Texas State graduate, said he had already heard Culhane’s presence before he got a chance to be his radio partner.
“It’s really hard to put into words what Bill Culhane has meant to this university and to Texas State Athletics.” Freeman said. “For so long, the only coverage available for the Bobcats was the radio, so if you wanted to follow every snap of the ball, every jump shot, every swing of the bat, you heard Bill’s voice describing it.”
Freeman worked at the student radio station, KTSW 89.9, before graduating and joining Culhane full time in the booth. For over a decade and a half, fans of Texas State could tune into a football, baseball or basketball game and expect to hear Bill and Brant on the air. The duo brought some of Texas State’s biggest moments to life, including FCS playoff runs, the name change from Southwest Texas to Texas State in 2003 and countless standout student athletes.
When Freeman became the frontman for ESPN+ at Texas State, Culhane shifted back to play-by-play duties, and Freeman said he continued to learn from his mentor and coworker.
“He brought a level of professionalism to each broadcast he did, a level I still find myself trying to match,” Freeman said. “So many things about the history of Texas State Athletics, of the broadcasting industry, I learned from him. Without Bill in my life, I don’t know what I’d be doing professionally right now.”
Culhane worked with countless KTSW 89.9 sports reporters and future broadcasters. Universally known as just “Bill” among students and coworkers, Culhane had the reputation of being not only fun loving, but constantly upbeat. During Monday football press conferences, Culhane showed up early to chat with the other media members, answering any and all questions from the play calling on third down to which former Bobcat pitcher could be starting that night in Major League Baseball.
Texas State beat writer for the Austin-American Statesman and Bobcat alum Keff Ciardello said he will remember the lessons that Culhane taught him.
“Bill taught me me how to have fun and still be a professional,” Ciardello said. “He’s as approachable and funny in person as he is on the air. (I’m) excited for him personally in retirement but the Texas State sports community is lesser without him.”
Culhane, a team-oriented person, said that the producer is the most crucial factor of the broadcast team.
“I’ve been recorded for years, maybe decades now, saying when it comes to the broadcast, the producer was always the most important aspect of the broadcast team,” Culhane said. “Some people would raise their eyebrows, (but) the games don’t happen without the producer. I hope I’ve cultivated the idea of team.”
Culhane is replaced by 25-year radio veteran Clint Shields. Shield’s new position at Texas State has Culhane’s fingerprints all over it. According to Shields, Culhane was listening to a radio broadcast of a local high school football game that Shields was calling as he was preparing for a Bobcat game.
“He sent me a note afterward with a nice compliment of our sound and preparation,” Shields said. “That led to a couple of phone conversations, which turned into an opportunity to call a men’s hoops game when they had a football conflict, which turned into the opportunity to call women’s basketball for a full season, which turned into the football analyst position in 2019, all of which has led to here.”
Shields will have some big shoes to fill as the replacement for the broadcaster who called over 250 football games, including both the memorable 2005 and 2008 playoff runs and nearly 600 Texas State men’s Basketball games and the 1997 and 1999 conference championship teams.
Shields said that he is eager to be a part of the Bobcat team and will strive meet the expectations of new and veteran Texas State fans.
“Texas State have been such an asset for me over the last three years and I’m sure I’ll continue to lean on him for a long time to come,” Shields said. “For Bobcat fans who tune in to his broadcasts, their expectations are high as a result of the passion and preparation that Bill has put into his work over the years. I only hope I can continue to provide that.”
Culhane will not be completely gone out of fans’ lives, however. Culhane said he plans to continue to be a fan and call games whenever Texas State may be in a pinch.
Culhane said he has high hopes for the future of Bobcat football thanks to Head Coach Jake Spavital.
“I see better days ahead for Texas State football,” Culhane said. “You talk about regrets, well the one regret I have is that Coach Spavital didn’t come here 10 years ago or that I didn’t start 10 years later because he is such a great guy. He is going to do tremendous things with the football program.”
Brant Freeman said it best, “There will be other broadcasters for the Bobcats, but there will never be another Bill Culhane.”

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